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India's Iran stand a slap for US: Burns

Monday February 20, 2012 07:59:57 PM, Arun Kumar, IANS

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Washington: A former top US diplomat has questioned India's ability to lead following New Delhi's decision to continue to buy Iranian oil, and called it a slap in the face of the United States.

"India's decision to walk out of step with the international community on Iran isn't just a slap in the face for the US - it raises questions about its ability to lead," Nicholas Burns, former US under-secretary of state, wrote in an Op-ed article in the Diplomat, a leading current affairs magazine.

"The Indian government's ill-advised statement last week that it will continue to purchase oil from Iran is a major setback for the US attempt to isolate the Iranian government over the nuclear issue," wrote the former diplomat who played a key role in negotiating the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal.

"This is bitterly disappointing news for those of us who have championed a close relationship with India," said Burns, currently Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School.

"And, it represents a real setback in the attempt by the last three American presidents to establish a close and strategic partnership with successive Indian governments."

Countering the Indian government's argument that it relies on Iran for 12 percent of its oil imports and cannot afford to break those trade ties, he said, "India has had years to adjust and make alternative arrangements."

"There's a larger point here about India's role in the world. For all the talk about India rising to become a global power, its government doesn't always act like one," said Burns.

"It is all too often focused on its own region but not much beyond it," he wrote. "And, it very seldom provides the kind of concrete leadership on tough issues that is necessary for the smooth functioning of the international system."



(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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